Aug 10, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 167: X-Men Chronicles #2, June 1995


I've got much the same thing to say about this issue of Chronicles as I did yesterday's. Though this issue was published as the AoA crossover was winding up, it depicts a moment in the alterna-X-Men's history that sets up the series that we're going to be looking at. This is the tale of both Weapon X and Jean Grey, and Gambit, leaving Magneto's team and taking up the rebel cause for themselves. Between last issue and this one, Sabretooth has somehow joined the team, which may or may not be explained in the series proper. That, honestly, isn't one of the important moments in this team's history, so perhaps it won't be explored at all. As I mentioned yesterday, it's not the whole of the continuity that's important in this crossover. Just the major points. It also speaks to the fact that the AoA is a temporary measure. If it had happened and been a reboot of the universe, rather than a crossover, I'm sure we would have had a Marvel Saga-style series filling us in on all the pertinent historical information.

This, in a nutshell, is my problem with crossovers. They are never going to lead to anything more than a slightly altered (if only for a month or two) status quo. Even supposedly major reboots like DC's "New 52" merely gave us a younger version of the same old universe. I understand the desire to keep things relatively based in "reality," a problematic statement if ever there was one, but imagine the story possibilities if Marvel had taken an idea like Age of Apocalypse, and made it their primary universal continuity for 5 years. Sure, bring back the old Marvel U in the year 2000, but keep this continuity going for a while, just to see how their characters make out in such a different setting. It could be that this is the failing of the corporately-owned superhero: he or she requires the status quo setting in order to be effective. Only a truly well-realized, and fundamentally archtypical, character can exist, and retain continuity, in vastly different settings.

Maybe.

Tomorrow and Wednesday we'll be looking at the two Tales from the Age of Apocalypse specials. Both were published well after the AoA finished, and tell "untold" tales. I'm not entirely sure they narratively preface the main series(es), but as they're afterthoughts to the series proper, we'll look at them now since they're not going to speak directly to those series. Considering what I've been saying about the sparseness of the history presented, it really does feel like there's a lot of prologue to the AoA. See you tomorrow.

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